By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT—MOVEMENT for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, has warned that any political party or candidate running for any elective office, who pushes ethnic card would lose votes of Ogoni people in the 2023 elections in Rivers State.
Citing a recent media report in which the Ogoni ethnic nationality was ruled out of the 2023 Rivers governorship race even with a popular candidate, Sen Magnus Abe, running, MOSOP warned against election campaigns anchored on ethnicity, hate speeches, sensitive issues capable of inciting people against one another.
Addressing the joint peer review committee of the Ogoni foremost leadership organ in Bori, Khana Local Government Area, MOSOP President, Fegalo Nsuke, noted that the political landscape was showing strong signs of growing bickering, which could degenerate into violent conflicts among parties’ faithful.
Nsuke said: “We urge parties and affiliate bodies to focus campaigns on issues bothering on addressing social problems, including decayed infrastructure, unemployment, extremely low standard of living, insecurity and so on rather than insulting people.
“For the Ogoni people, MOSOP wants to state unequivocally that any political party, which turns its campaign into hate speeches targeted at the Ogoni people will be made to pay the price in the way Ogoni will vote during the election.
“We should not allow ethnicity to drive our campaigns. Campaigns that promote racial discrimination, hate speeches and ethnic suppression have a tendency to spur violence and we should do everything to avoid that.
“Rivers’ people will choose their political leadership, including who becomes governor and every contestant, including those of Ogoni extraction should have a chance. Whatever the outcome should be accepted by all in the interest of the state. We need to stop pushing the ethnic card which narrows the essence of leadership to the destructive and corrupt ‘our turn’ syndrome.”
“We must allow every candidate test his or her popularity and not rule out any party. Castigating contestants, political parties and ethnic groups can be infuriating and could escalate into violent conflicts. MOSOP will therefore urge contestants and followers to exercise utmost restraint in the interest of peace.”